Seizures: Overview

Seizures can range from small local muscle movements to full body seizures. Although epilepsy is the best-known cause, there are numerous other possible causes of seizures. Febrile convulsions are a common type that arises with high fever. Small seizures may be tics, twitches, and muscle spasms, which all have particular causes. Times when a child stares into space and is non-responsive is called an absence seizure.

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Seizure: Spontaneous firing in the brain to cause detectable change in the body. Seizures can be convulsive (such as grand mal) or non-convulsive (such as absence).

Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH)1

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Seizures: A temporary change in brain performance due to abnormal electrical activity of a specific group of cells in the brain that either present with sudden muscle contractions, decreased level of consciousness, and several other symptoms.

Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH)2

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When the signals in someoneís brain get confused, itís called a seizure or fit. Seizures can range from brief pauses, to twitching and muscle spasms in part or all of the body. One cause of seizures is epilepsy.

Source: New Zealand Health3

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Seizures are symptoms of a brain problem. They happen because of sudden, abnormal electrical activity in the brain. When people think of seizures, they often think of convulsions in which a person's body shakes rapidly and uncontrollably. Not all seizures cause convulsions. There are many types of seizures and some have mild symptoms. Seizures fall into two main groups. Focal seizures, also called partial seizures, happen in just one part of the brain. Generalized seizures are a result of abnormal activity on both sides of the brain.

Most seizures last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes and do not cause lasting harm. However, it is a medical emergency if seizures last longer than 5 minutes or if a person has many seizures and does not wake up between them. Seizures can have many causes, including medicines, high fevers, head injuries and certain diseases. People who have recurring seizures due to a brain disorder have epilepsy.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Source: MedLinePlus (NIH)4

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Seizure: Sudden, involuntary skeletal muscular contractions of cerebral or brain stem origin.5

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Seizures: Clinical or subclinical disturbances of cortical function due to a sudden, abnormal, excessive, and disorganized discharge of brain cells. Clinical manifestations include abnormal motor, sensory and psychic phenomena. Recurrent seizures are usually referred to as Epilepsy or "seizure disorder."6

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Seizures are an intermittent abnormality of the central nervous system due to a sudden, excessive, disorderly discharge of cerebral neurons and characterized clinically by some combination of disturbance of sensation, loss of consciousness, impairment of psychic function, or convulsive movements. The term epilepsy is used to describe chronic, recurrent seizures.

The term epilepsy is not used to describe recurrent febrile seizures. Epilepsy presumably reflects an abnormally reduced seizure threshold.7

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Seizure adverse event: A behavior and neurological adverse event that shows a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain.8

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References

  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): rarediseasesnetwork.org/ cms/ bvmc/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): rarediseasesnetwork.org/ cms/ ucdc/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  3. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ epilepsy
  4. Source: MedLinePlus (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ seizures.html
  5. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  6. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  7. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  8. Source: OAE Ontology

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.